As I walked into the foyer of the synagogue on Saturday morning, I was greeted by a posterboard bearing the names and faces of the 11 innocent Jewish souls murdered last week in Pittsburgh.
Worshippers attend a “Show Up For Shabbat” service at JCC Harlem following last Saturday’s shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue, in Pittsburgh, in Manhattan, New York, November 3, 2018. (photo credit: ANDREW KELLY / REUTERS)
TEANECK, New Jersey – For as long as I can remember, there have been security guards posted both inside and outside my parents’ synagogue in Teaneck, New Jersey. They’re a fixture of Shabbat – a sight as expected as men in tallitot walking into the sanctuary and small children dashing through the hallways.
But walking past those men and women this Saturday morning was a stark and gut-wrenching reminder of the events of last weekend. And it was a painful and depressing indication of the need to provide protection to American Jews while they worship. I have never encountered security while attending services in Jerusalem; but it is always more than likely that several congregants are armed. In Israel, Jews gathered anywhere at any time are a target for terrorist murderers. In the United States, a madman violated the sanctity of a synagogue to target Jewish people in the most cruel and heartbreaking way imaginable.
As I walked into the foyer of the synagogue on Saturday morning, I was greeted by a posterboard bearing the names and faces of the 11 innocent Jewish souls murdered last week in Pittsburgh. Just beyond that was another board, featuring the smiling face of a bar mitzvah boy celebrating a milestone birthday this weekend.
In even the darkest periods of mourning, Jewish life goes on. And inside that sanctuary, joy and pain mingled during the first Shabbat morning services since the deadliest attack on the American Jewish community in memory.
As a police car blocked the entrance to the synagogue’s parking lot, little girls handed out candy bags to congregants to lob at the bar mitzvah boy. As the 13-year-old recited his Torah portion, a volunteer guard patrolled the perimeter of the building. And as the rabbi finished his sermon, the mayor of Teaneck – Mohammed Hameeduddin – showed up to send a silent message of support. At times it was standing-room only in the 600-seat sanctuary at just one of the three services held in the building that morning.
ACROSS THE United States on Saturday, many Jews returned to synagogues for the first time since a monster opened fire in a synagogue in Pittsburgh murdering 11 Jews while they were praying. Around the country, many of those who aren’t regular attendees showed up as a sign of solidarity with the Tree of Life Synagogue and with the American Jewish community as a whole. The American Jewish Committee started the campaign #ShowUpforShabbat, urging people to join services somewhere this weekend. The Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey called for a “Solidarity Shabbat” _ and 80 Reform, Conservative, Orthodox and Chabad synagogues signed on. The Brandeis University Hillel invited the entire community to Friday night services and dinner. The president of the Prospect Heights Shul in Brooklyn called on community members to wear a tallit on the street as they walked to synagogue. In Los Angeles, Jewish Mayor Eric Garcetti spoke at an interfaith event at a temple in the city on Friday evening.
I asked friends and family around the US about their experiences on Shabbat – both those who normally attend synagogue and others who chose specifically to turn up this week.
What they described paints a picture of a Jewish community shaken, but resolute. Synagogues across the United States – already concerned with security – are on even higher alert.
For the past week, the American Jewish community – and in many ways, the global Jewish community – mourned and grieved this terrible loss. But it also steeled itself and prepared for this weekend, refusing to back down in the face of violent hate. Thousands of synagogues, Jewish centers and schools alerted their members throughout the week about extra security protection and measures being taken. Rabbis of all denominations penned sermons trying to make some sense of such a senseless loss, and offer solace and strength to congregants. Lay leaders volunteered to coordinate with city officials and police departments to offer a sense of security to a rattled community.
It is 2018, and Jews in the United States are praying to God behind locked doors and armed guards. But they will keep praying.
The University of Cape Town campus. Photo: Adrian Frith via Wikimedia Commons.
The University of Cape Town, the top-ranking academic institution in Africa, is set to consider enforcing an academic boycott against Israel later this month.
The UCT Senate, a decision-making body comprised primarily of professors and administrators, endorsed a proposal on March 15 to bar the university from entering into any formal relationship with Israeli academic institutions that operate “in the occupied Palestinian territories,” or otherwise enable “gross human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territories,” the university said in a statement.
The campus of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.
JNS.org – Students at Brown University voted overwhelmingly in favor of a referendum held between Tuesday and Thursday, calling on the school to separate itself from companies that conduct business with the State of Israel.
The tally was 69 percent in favor and 31 percent against.
Members of the pro-Israel community nationally and locally condemned the outcome.
“For the sake of My servant Yaakov, Yisrael My chosen one, I call you by name, I hail you by title, though you have not known Me.” Isaiah 45:4 (The Israel Bible™)
Many have seen similarities between the Biblical King Cyrus and President Donald Trump. (Breaking Israel News)
After 52 years it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel’s Sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which is of critical strategic and security importance to the State of Israel and Regional Stability!
Many are claiming this was a pre-election gift to Trump’s friend, Netanyahu, but it others see a much larger significance that transcends politics and enters into the realm of the Biblical. One such belief was expressed by Breaking Israel News publisher Rabbi Tuly Weisz, who noted that the announcement came on the Jewish holiday of Purim.
“The same days on which the Yehudim enjoyed relief from their foes and the same month which had been transformed for them from one of grief and mourning to one of festive joy. They were to observe them as days of feasting and merrymaking, and as an occasion for sending gifts to one another and presents to the poor.” Esther 9:22 (The Israel Bible™)
If there was ever a quintessentially Jewish holiday, it’s Purim, when the Jewish people were threatened by Haman, a descendant of Amalek, and saved by God’s hidden hand. Even so, we find examples of people from the Nations being inspired by the story of Purim and even gathering to mark the day alongside the Jewish people.
Protesters waving Turkish and Palestinian flags shout anti-Israel slogans during a demonstration in Amsterdam June 4, 2010. Israel’s raid of a Gaza-bound aid flotilla has set off a diplomatic furor, drawing criticism from friends and foes alike and straining ties with regional ally Turkey, which cal. (photo credit: REUTERS)
AMSTERDAM (JTA) — Demonstrators carrying Palestinian flags turned their backs on a Dutch chief rabbi during his eulogy at a vigil for Muslims killed in New Zealand.
The incident Sunday happened as Rabbi Binyomin Jacobs was discussing the meaning of a minute of silence at the gathering at the Dam Square World War II memorial monument. Thousands of people, many of them Muslims, gathered at the square to commemorate the 49 people slain Friday by a far-right killer at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Hamas is now accusing the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Fatah of exploiting the economic crisis in the Gaza Strip to call on Palestinians to overthrow the Hamas regime. Fatah, for its part, is accusing the “dark forces” of Hamas of acting on orders from outside parties to establish a separate Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip.
The US administration says it will publish its long-awaited plan for peace in the Middle East, known as the “Deal of the Century,” after the general elections in Israel on April 9
There is a difference between an “honest broker” and a “neutral arbiter.” In advance of the rollout of its Middle East peace plan, the Trump administration has taken a series of steps to ensure its role as the honest broker. The U.S. is not “neutral” between our ally, Israel, and the Palestinians who seek to replace it. But it won’t be easy to change presumptions that are deeply embedded in the
When the FBI informs us that parents are ready to spend up to $6.5 million in bribes to get their children into prestige colleges, it seemingly implies that all is very, very well in the American university. But Warren Treadgold tells us that’s an illusion.
He’s a distinguished professor of Byzantine history at St. Louis University who has also taught at Berkeley, FIU, Hillsdale, Stanford, and UCLA. Having entered college in 1967, he draws on long experience to both indict and offer a remedy of the most thoroughly left-wing major institution in America. His book, The University We Need (Encounter, 2018) presents its case with insight and a light touch.
The threat posed by Hezbollah and Ali Musa Daqduq, a senior operative in Hezbollah, was unmasked by Israel on Wednesday.
Daqduq was responsible for the “abduction and execution of five American servicemen in Iraq in 2007,” the IDF said. The role of Hezbollah members in neighboring states is an illustration of how groups allied with Iran are continuing to build a web linking Tehran to Beirut via a “road to the sea” that transits Iraq and Syria.
According to the IDF, the role of Daqduq includes establishing terror cells in Iraq to fight the US in 2006, stints training in Lebanon in 2013-2018 and now putting down roots in Syria.
Every few weeks, some political or national figure demands a national conversation about race. (Most recently, Senator Kamala Harris insisted, “We have not had these honest discussions about race.”)
What does a conversation about race mean? Invariably, an indictment of the fundamental unfairness of our country, the historical roots of racism in white supremacy, and the national guilt of white people.
Or, to put it more simply, why Senator Kamala Harris deserves to be in the White House.
We don’t have national conversations about anti-Semitism because the problem can’t be narrowed down to an easily blamed demographic. The Democrats invariably try to blame anti-Semitism on the usual suspects, white male Republicans living more than two hundred miles from a Starbucks, but the largest toll of violent anti-Semitic attacks tend to fall on New York City’s black neighborhoods.